To be dominant as a footballer you need to be able to play with your back to goal as well as going to goal. Everyone knows that we have to face/go to goal, but being good at both is so helpful. Forwards are the players who will receive the ball with their back to goal the most, therefore should practice it. Below you’ll learn some good ways to practice on your own and hopefully grow in knowledge. Coaches love to have forwards who can play with their back to goal because then the team can keep possession of the ball longer.
Learning to play with your back to goal
Most forwards in soccer/futbol only know how to go to the goal. Whether dribbling or making runs towards the goal. Hey, we all want to score goals right? The thing is, most teams only score 1, 2 maybe 3 or 4 goals in a 60-90 minute game. With this players must learn to be patient and keep possession of the ball. If every pass we make is with the purpose to get an assist, you won’t keep the ball. Checking to the ball and passing back draws the other defenders out of position, opening up your other attacking players to create chances on goal.
Learning to be a dual threat is vital if you want to take your game to the next level. Start by practicing how to check to the ball and receiving the ball different ways. You’ll really enjoy the game more when you know how to play with your back to goal. On the contrary, it’s important to know how to dribble past defenders and make runs off the ball to get open.
3 threats when playing with your back to goal
When playing with your back to goal there are 3 main things to do. Of course there are more than these three, but these are the one you really need to know. Most attacking players are not good at all of them and really have one that they are best at. I believe with the will to learn and the time you put into practicing you can become great at all of them. Below you’ll learn more on how to hold the ball up, different turns to dribble, pass or shoot and ways to lay the ball off.
Holding the ball up
Being able to hold the ball up can be done 2 ways. 1) Being able to be strong on the ball and waiting for your teammates to support you by showing to the ball and communicating. 2) Dribbling / evading defenders so that you can make create more passes.
Turning drills to help you playing with your back to goal
When a defender is tight on your back or even a few yards away there are many ways to turn. Depending on the situation, you’ll want to practice different turns so that in a game you’re able to react. The forwards and mids who can turn different ways are the hardest to mark because you can’t read them.
Here are 2 of the best turning while receiving drills to work on. Practice them and you’ll really improve as a player.
- Receiving with the inside of the back foot. Great for when you have a few yards of space between you and the defender. While the ball is traveling to you, open up your hips/body and trap the ball with the inside of the back foot. The back foot is the furthest foot from the ball. So it all depends on which way you turn before receiving it.
- Turning with the outside of the foot is one of the best ways to turn when a defender is within arms reach. This is probably the quickest turn because you can immediately do a half spin and get behind the defender.
These 2 videos below give you an idea how you can practice solo + 1 with a partner.
Video below is a drill to help with turning while receiving with the outside of the foot. This is a good quick turn to use with or without a defender on your back. Your first focus should be to do it smooth, not fast.
Playing with your back to goal and shooting
Beside drills to get high reps, you also want to practice by going to goal. This way you are used to actually turning and then shooting. It’s one thing to turn and pass short, it’s another to turn and shoot.
Video below is with a college player and myself. This guy is a great player, but this turn was new to him. It was fun to watch him learn and improve. As a player you should always be learning, no matter how old or good you are.
Laying the ball off
Forwards and midfielders are the 2 player positions that will do this most. Especially forwards laying the ball off to the mids. Once you lay the ball of you can immediately change speed and direction to make runs behind the defenders. The last thing you want to do is lay the ball off and then stand there… A different option besides turning to go up field is checking (moving) out to get wide from the defender.
One of the most difficult skills in laying balls off is when you are running towards the ball – while it’s coming to you. With the force of you and the ball meeting each other, be careful not to pass the ball too hard. The best thing to do is practice. Most players are not used to passing the ball back where it came from as they are running towards it. There will also be times when you lay the ball off in a stationary position, so practice both ways.
In my experience in teaching this, players will stop running so they can make the pass in a still position. Stationary is what players are used to when passing, which is normal and okay, but this is why we need to learn how to lay the ball off. Laying the ball off can come from you being in a stationary or moving position, so it’s not that one is better than the other.
Getting your ball control and aerial control better
To play better you need to know the skills that you’ll actually use. Tricks may look cool, but they will not do much for you on game day. If you really want to be your best, get my one time purchase ball control courses. Three different levels. For older more advanced players, all the levels are for you. I recommend you do 30 minutes per week on them to stay sharp.
Novice players can start with the basics (fundamentals) for a few months or longer. Make sure these are done slow and correct, not rushing through them. You can always ask me questions or send in a video of you or your child to get my feedback.